Volume Nineteen: Homo-foe-bia

Posted on 02/02/2010

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And heeeeerrrrreeee we go…I’m back good people and quicker than ever before. I promised/resolved/told you that I would be posting more often in 2010; and, to this point, I’ve been a man of my word. As you can tell by the title of this post, I’m back to my “controversial” ways (shout to Valencia). While I don’t think that I’m “controversial”, I do think that I take everyday topics and provide a unique take – hopefully, to inspire thought. I believe we all need to find different ways to look at debatable topics. I posted on my FaceBook status a couple of weeks ago,“A mind is like a parachute. They both don’t work if they’re not open.” Open minds allow us to continue to grow and thrive. Closed minds are the starting points for separation, arguments, and sometimes violence. Today’s topic has done all those things and more. My hope is that you find something to open your mind with this latest post….Homo-foe-bia.

Homophobia Defined

Dictionary.com defines homophobia as unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality. The key word that jumps out to me is unreasoning. History will show that any period in which a country or group of people have unreasoning principles or fear of another group or culture, conflict emerges and rights are violated. Think about the Holocaust or slavery in America. Both dominating groups in those instances had an unreasoning fear of the dominated groups. This fear drove policy, practice and, in both instances, created misguided prejudices, stereotypes, and discrimination for surviving generations. Unreasoning fear has no place in any society.

Why Homophobic?

The short answer is I don’t know. Maybe that’s why the definition includes unreasoning fear because it can’t be reasonably explained. As a heterosexual man, I can say that I don’t understand being attracted sexually to another man. At the same time, do I have to disrespect, discriminate, or fear someone because they do? Is homosexuality a disease I may catch if I associate with someone who is gay? I know these are rhetorical questions but, apparently there are some misguided people whose fear is based on naïve and unfounded beliefs. Do we all have to be alike to be accepted? Rhetorical again, but necessary for thought.

African-American Male Homo-foe-bia

The preceding sections spoke to homophobia in general. However, when it’s thought about from an African-American male perspective, it grows in intensity. Why? Well, historically in this country African-Americans have been marginalized socially. In part to some of that unreasonable fear mentioned earlier. As a result of centuries of marginalization, discrimination, and outright violence, we have developed a bit of an unconscious inferiority complex. Consequently, instead of identifying with other marginalized groups, like homosexuals, we have used their plight as a platform for attempting to elevate ourselves. In short, it’s the crabs-in-a-barrel syndrome applied to group dynamics.

African-American men have taken it one step further. We have embraced the stereotypes of hypersexuality and virility because it feeds our ego. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be perceived as being good in bed before you even have to prove yourself otherwise? But, I’m digressing…. Homosexual Black men are the antithesis of that stereotype. They are not “studs” that can pleasure any woman in a Mandingo-like fashion. Noooooo. Gay Black men erode the sexual bravado that is incumbent in most heterosexual Black men. Therefore, they have again become our adversaries – if for no other reason than their sexual orientation. Homo-foe-bia at it’s worse.

Conclusion

I live in Atlanta. Our fair city had the distinction of being named as The Gayest City in America by The Advocate, the country’s oldest gay periodical. That “title” set off a firestorm of discussions. Sports radio, water coolers, FaceBook, Twitter, etc. were all exploding with quasi-homophobic rhetoric and jokes. My primary thought was, “Why all the fuss?” Is it a detriment to live in a city that is accepting of all people? That we’re okay with knowing we have a large homosexual population and don’t give a ufck? Personally, it was a small blip on my radar. The only reason I was prompted to write this post was how everyone else responded to it. I grew up in a homophobic home and heard all the jokes from my uncles growing up. Then, I realized one thing. I realized I had a mind of my own to make my own decisions. I realized that hating or belittling someone for something that was out of their control was repeating the cycle of bigotry that African-Americans suffered from for centuries.

I also realized that I had no energy or patience for unproductive discrimination. Do you?

That’s just my three cents…

sill-E

Peep my ver-na-cular cuz I don’t know how to act… 

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